World safety day this week has prompted renewed calls for industrial manslaughter provisions to be introduced nationally and a faster response to the review of the model WHS laws.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) used the day to highlight the fact that the nation was still waiting on changes recommended in Marie Boland’s 2018-19 review of the model WHS laws.
The Boland review of model WHS legislation handed down 34 recommendations including that the model WHS Act be amended to introduce an offence of industrial manslaughter.
The ACTU said the federal government had “failed to act on a single recommendation.”
“Other than in Queensland, Victoria, the Northern Territory and Western Australia when companies are found responsible for the death of a worker the pay only a small fine, which can be claimed against insurance,” the ACTU said in a statement.
“This is no justice for the families, friends and workmates which have lost loved ones and is no deterrence for unsafe work practices which kill roughly 4 workers a week.”
Minister Cash is set to be the deciding vote at an upcoming meeting of federal and state ministers, which could ultimately decide if industry manslaughter is adopted federally.
ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien said it was critical that Minister Cash seized this opportunity to protect workers.
“Industrial Manslaughter will not only provide an avenue for true justice for the families of those killed at work, but it will also force cultural change that will hopefully lead to fewer deaths at work. “
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